LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Several ballot initiatives ended in a deadlock when brought up to the state’s Board of Canvassers on Wednesday.
One expert said it’s part of a growing partisanship in closer levels of government.
What’s usually a procedural review was drawn out well into the evening as people filled the board’s chambers to make their voices heard. For some, the day was discouraging.
“There’s just so much on the line for not only myself, my own family, my daughters, personally, but also the many families out in our state and quite frankly other state’s now as Michigan is one of the few states due to lawsuits and court orders abortion remains legal,” said Nicole Wells Stallworth, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan.
Wells Stallworth said the deadlock is disappointing for more than 70,000 people who signed the abortion rights petition.
The Reproductive Freedom For All Initiative aims to add abortion protections to the state constitution. Kathy Potts with Jackson Right to Life is against the movement and said the formatting and grammar issues should have put a stop to the movement early on.
“Had it been any other issue than the abortion issue, I don’t think it would have gone this far. I think it would have been rejected quite early on in the process,” Potts said.
Aaron Kall with the University of Michigan said the board’s gridlock is a sign of partisan friction. He said it’s not just in Michigan, but also nationwide where election pressures could be influencing reviews.
“Any time you collect the votes of hundreds of thousands of people in a very short amount of time, no matter what happens there’s going to be avenues to challenge it. A challenge on controversial issues is going to play to partisan members of the board and that kind of prevails over that more administerial role and kind of common sense,” Kall said.
Kall aids this type of action could erode voter trust in the system and persuade some Michiganders to not get involved in politics.
Supporters for both the Promote the Vote and Reproductive Freedom for All initiatives said they plan to appeal the board’s decisions in the State Supreme Court. They have seven business days to do that.